Published on Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Class action claims Carnival hot tubs infected with flesh-eating bacteria

In the latest blow to Carnival Cruise Line, a class action lawsuit is claiming that hot tubs on Carnival ships are infested with flesh-eating bacteria.

The suit alleges that hundreds of passengers contracted the MRSA virus on Carnival ships and calls for anyone infected to join in.

Tab Lankford claims he caught it on Carnival Paradise in December 2011 and almost lost his leg.

He spent a week in the hospital with doctors contemplating amputation, and running up $70,000 in medical bills.

Lankford claims someone in Carnival guest relations told him 50 other passengers on the ship also caught the virus.

Maria Osoriocano and Andrew Smith claim they caught MRSA and staphylococcus aureus in the hot tub of Carnival Fascination on a May 12 2012 sailing.

Attorneys for the three have filed a class action demanding that Carnival release the names of others who fell sick after using its hot tubs.

"Our clients - and we believe many others - have suffered horrendous infections from bathing in Carnival's hot tubs," said Sean Cleary, attorney for the Fascination couple.

"One problem is that these infections may take a few days to surface. By the time the passengers know they have been exposed, it is often too late to report the problem on the ship."

A motion by Carnival to dismiss the class action was denied by Federal Judge Cecilia Altonaga of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

A Carnival spokesman said: "The lawsuit is meritless. All pools, whirlpools and water-based amenities on board our ships are properly maintained and their water content properties are routinely monitored.  We take sanitation and cleanliness on our vessels very seriously and water quality is confirmed through periodic inspections by the U.S. Public Health service.

"Our guests may rest assured that these shipboard amenities are maintained via strict standards and practices to ensure a clean and safe environment. We decline to comment further given the pending lawsuit."

By Cheryl Rosen, TravelMole US

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